Monday, October 12, 2015

How to secure Windows 10: The paranoid's guide

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Worried sick over Windows 10's privacy settings? There's a lot you can do to lock them down, but you will lose some functionality along the way.

Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean that they're not out to get you.

With some work you can lock Windows 10 privacy settings down but at the cost of some functionality.
That said, I think some people's fears about Microsoft looking over your shoulder are over-the-top. And, I speak as someone who looks at Microsoft with a great deal of suspicion.
What you need to realize is that Microsoft has made Windows 10 both a desktop and a cloud operating system. Adding cloud functionality means that when you run Windows 10 you'll be sharing far more information with Microsoft and its partner customers than ever before.

For example, while Windows 10 doesn't have a keylogger it does collect your keystrokes and voice to improve spell-checking and voice recognition. Before having a fit about this, keep in mind that every cloud-based software-as-a-service (SaaS) program does this to one degree or another. Google Docs, Apple's Siri, Office 365, whatever -- they all collect not just your final words but every keystroke and spoken syllable that went into making those words.
It's another case with Wi-Fi Sense. You don't need to be afraid that Wi-FI Sense will let any of your Skype, Outlook, or Hotmail contacts use your Wi-Fi network without your permission. Yes, Wi-Fi Sense is on by default, but take a closer look. It doesn't permit anyone to use any of your Wi-FI networks without your specific permission.


Still don't trust these new "features?" I can't blame you. This is not the Windows you've known and used for years. This is a Windows that exists both on your PC and in Microsoft's cloud. Here's how to lock down Windows 10 and make it more of a PC-centric operating system.
First, head to Settings/Privacy. There you will find no fewer than 13--count 'em, 13--different privacy settings screens. The major settings are under the 'General' screen. The other screens are concerned with which apps can and can't access your calendar, camera, messages, microphone and so on.
On the General screen, you'll see your Advertising ID. This is your unique ID number. Think of it as being like a web cookie and you won't be far wrong. It's used to identify you to Windows apps advertisers. So, for instance, if you're a big Dallas Cowboy fan, you can count on seeing ads for Cowboys gear. Microsoft claims it doesn't link this ID with your name, email address, or other personal information.

Of course, they don't need to. Any company that does modern web advertising is going to have you pinned down with our without this ID. Welcome to the 21st century. Personally, I've already turned it off.
If you're still concerned about keylogging, head to Privacy/Speech, inking & typing. Think long and hard about whether to use Microsoft's "Getting to know me" improvements. Steve Hoffenberg, VDC Research's Director of IoT & Embedded Technology worries, for instance, that these Windows 10's "features" violate Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) privacy requirements. If his fears are valid, this means medical offices and health insurance companies should turn off this Windows 10 setting.
I doubt he's right, but I'm no lawyer. Even so, were I working with transactions that fall underSarbanes- Oxley (SOX)Gramm-Leach-Bliley (GLB), or HIPAA, I'd turn off this feature, and its related setting, "Windows 10 Input Personalization." Better safe than sorry.
Be aware, however, that if you turn off the "Getting to know me," this will also disable both dictation and Windows 10's voice-activated assistant Cortana,
Next, you'll want to use "Manage my Microsoft advertising and other personalization info" to decide on whether you want advertisers to show you ads based on your browsing history and interests. Better still, skip that page and head directly to Microsoft personalized ad preferences and opt out of everything. Advertisers already know far too much about me as it is.
You'll also want to look at each individual setting page to make sure that Microsoft and Windows have just as much access as you feel comfortable with. So, of course you want Windows' Calendar app to access your calendar data (obv) -- but share it with advertisers via App connector? I don't think so!

Be sure to go through each setting even if you don't think they'll matter. By default, each and every privacy setting is set to give Microsoft and friends the maximum possible access. This is not a good thing.
Moving on: Head to the Location settings and turn them off. While your PC probably doesn't have a GPS like your smartphone, you'd be amazed at how accurately your location can be pinned down using Wi-Fi access points and IP address. I've never been comfortable with letting anyone track me and I turn location off on every device I own except when I need GPS directions.
If you turn off location services, though, you won't be able to fully use Cortana. That's annoying because Cortana is one of Windows 10's best features. It's helpful to just ask your computer a question and get useful, personalized answers. But like its older relatives, Siri and Google Now, for Cortana to show to its best advantage it needs access to an enormous amount of personal data. For instance, Cortana must have locations services on. Cortana also watches pretty much everything you write, say and do on your PC. For example, it keeps track of your flights by detecting "tracking info, such as flights, in messages on my device."
That's both incredibly handy and incredibly creepy. If you find it more disturbing than useful, head to Cortana's settings, under Cortana and Search, and turn off everything there that doesn't pass the smell test. Cortana will be less useful, but you'll get more privacy.
Another approach to locking down Windows 10 is the open-source "Disable Windows 10 Tracking." This brand-new program claims that it disables telemetry collection, certain Windows services, and other tracking. At this point, this is a bare-bones program and only Windows experts should use it.

Still not private enough for you? Then don't use Windows 10, Chrome OS, iOS, Android, or any other system that's tied closely into the cloud. Instead, use Linux as your desktop operating system. By default, Linux is the only mainstream operating system that still relies primarily on true desktop apps.
Not ready for such a radical move? Well, actually, it's not that radical. If you can use Windows, trust me, you can use Linux distributions such as Ubuntu 15.04 or Mint 17.2.
Otherwise, get busy locking down Windows 10. Good luck.

How to remove "Warranty Void If Removed" stickers without voiding your warranty

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hey Readers,

Want to fool Manufactures by voiding Warranty of any electronics goods,Want to get inside one of your electronic gizmos but there's a "Warranty Void If Removed" stickers standing between you and the freedom to tinker? Fear not, for there are ways and means that will allow you to take back ownership of your devices.


Want to get inside one of your electronic gizmos but there's a "Warranty Void If Removed" stickers standing between you and the freedom to tinker? Fear not, for there are ways and means that will allow you to take back ownership of your devices and remove that sticker without damaging it.
To show you how to do this I'm going to enlist the help of a couple of international YouTubers. Both of these guys really know their stuff and if you got some time to kill I suggest you have a look at some of their other videos. I guarantee you'll pick up a lot of useful hints, tips, and information while at the same time being entertained.
First off we go down under to Australia where Dave Jones fame offers up this trick where you remove the sticker using a little bit of heat and a static shielding bag. It takes some patience but it does work.
If using a static shielding bag feels a little bit too homebrew for you then what you need is a DIY Teflon knife specifically built for the job. For this we next visit Canada where Chris, who runs the AvE channel on YouTube, will how us how to make one and how to use it.
WARNING: This channel is NSFW due to the colorful language that can be thrown around, and I'm in no way responsible for your use of the phrase "skookum choocher" if you watch more than a couple of Chris's videos.
Finally, let me throw a tip into the hat that can save you should you bust a "Warranty Void If Removed" sticker. Have a look on eBay for a replacement. Chances are good that if the sticker isn't proprietary (that is, it's not emblazoned with the company's name or whatever), you'll be able to find a replacement that's a close enough match.

Microsoft: Windows 10 now running on more than 110 million devices

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Hello Readers

As we know after give free upgrade to windows 10 now the company claims That MicrosoftWindows 10 now running on more than 110 million devices


Microsoft's Windows 10 operating system is on more than 110 million PCs and tablets, according to company officials, up from 75 million just over a month ago.

Users have activated more than 110 million copies of Windows 10 since Microsoft began rolling out the operating system on July 29.
That's the latest claim by company officials, as of October 6.
At Microsoft's Windows 10 devices launch in New York City, Windows and Devices chief Terry Myerson disclosed the updated figure.
On August 29, Microsoft execs said Windows 10 was on more than 75 million devices, which was up from the 14 million figure -- the number of copies activated in the first 24 hours the OS was available.
Back in August, when I asked, Microsoft said it was disclosing the number of Windows 10 copies activated by users, not the number of copies of the OS it had sold into the channel.
Microsoft began making Windows 10 available to Windows 7, 8 and 8.1 users as a free upgrade for consumers and some business customers on July 29. Those who don't qualify for the free upgrade and are not covered by a volume license with Software Assurance can opt to buy Windows 10 Home for $119 and/or Windows 10 Pro for $199.
Microsoft has released Windows 10 for IoT, but still has not made available Windows 10 Mobile, the version of Windows 10 for Windows Phones and small ARM- and Intel-based tablets.
Microsoft officials believe Windows 10 will be installed on one billion devices by2018, officials said earlier this year.

Dell and EMC: A big buyout

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Hello Readers
Today's Big news is 


Dell and EMC would merge in what would be one of the largest leveraged buyouts. Strategically, the deal makes sense, but there's a catch. Dell and EMC still lack a public cloud story in a hybrid market.

Dell is reportedly planning to offer more than $27 a share for EMC in what would be a massive leveraged buyout.
According to CNBC, the deal would be about a week away and Dell has to line up $40 billion in financing. The general idea is that Dell would buy EMC and keep control in VMware.
EMC has been evaluating strategic alternatives and looking at everything from a reverse merger where VMware, which is majority owned by the storage giant, could buy EMC, to bringing VMware in-house.
The rationale for the EMC-Dell combination is straightforward:
  • The companies would have more scale and be able to play in nearly every aspect of the data center.
  • Dell would get real software assets via ownership of VMware and EMC's capabilities.
  • The combined companies would have a better converged infrastructure story since EMC also has VNX.
  • Both companies could cobble together a decent services organization to better sell hardware and software bundles.
Of course, there's a catch. The combined EMC-Dell would be massive yet lack a public cloud story. EMC and Dell would be all about building private clouds and hybrid architecture. The big hole EMC and Dell would have is a public cloud to combine the private infrastructure. IBM has SoftLayer.
In other words, EMC and Dell could combine in one of the largest leveraged buyouts ever and still be run over by hyperscale cloud providers such as Amazon Web Services and Microsoft and lack the hybrid play that IBM touts. HP Enterprise would aim to pounce on the fear, uncertainty and doubt surrounding a Dell-EMC merger. Much of that FUD would revolve around the combined EMC-Dell's ability to fund innovation with what will be a heavy debt load.
Dell went private to transform from a reliance on PC to more soup-to-nuts infrastructure, services and software. Financially, the time is right for Dell to ponder a leveraged buyout due to low interest rates. What's unclear is whether Wall Street has the appetite to fund a leveraged buyout that large at a low rate.
It wouldn't be crazy to Cisco to ponder an EMC purchase too. EMC with VMware would be a strong asset for most of the IT megavendors.
Should Dell pull off an EMC merger, it's clear that the IT vendor landscape would shift. HP Enterprise, which is about to split from its PC and printer sibling, is downsizing to be more nimble. EMC and Dell would go in the opposite direction.
Jefferies analyst James Kisner noted the scale from EMC and Dell would likely mean more consolidation.
We see increased scale as the main benefit from a combination. Dell and EMC are increasingly competing with the likes of Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and others that have deep pockets; becoming larger would make Dell and EMC of greater strategic importance to their customers. Secondly, a combination would allow Dell+EMC to provide a more compete private cloud stack. While Dell is not as significant a player in networking as HP Enterprise, Dell's server position and software could prove useful (servers could be used in hyper converged appliances, for example). We believe enterprise customers want their private cloud vendors to be able to provide an easily integrated and scalable private cloud stack that ideally is also interoperable with other vendors' stacks. This combination would at least increase EMC's breadth.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Carbanak hacking group steal $1 billion from banks worldwide

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Carbanak malware offered criminals the chance to steal up to $10 million per heist.

CANCUN, MEXICO: Kaspersky researchers have discovered the theft of $1 billion from banks over the past two years.

Researchers from the security firm, working together with the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol), Europol and law enforcement agencies including the NHTCU have uncovered a two-year criminal operation which relieved banks of $1 billion worldwide.
Since 2013, the cybergang have attempted to attack banks, e-payment systems and financial institutions using the Carbanak malware. The criminal operation has struck banks in approximately 30 countries.
What makes this crime unusual is the fact individual end users were not targeted; rather, banks themselves were the victims.
Sergey Golovanov, Principal Security Researcher at Kaspersky Lab's Global Research and Analysis Team told attendees at the Kaspersky Lab Security Analyst Summit that tracking the operation began when he was shown a video of a criminal taking money from an ATM without touching the machine.
A bank then requested help from the security company to tackle the problem -- as every ATM in a specific area had been taken from. Originally, Golovanov and colleagues searched for malware in the ATM network itself but came up short -- finding instead "terrible" misconfiguration in network configuration. This led to the discovery of Carberp and Anunak malware code -- open-source malicious code used in Carbanak.
around organization accountability with PII is cause to protect ourselves from identity theft and more, including danger signs, security freeze, fraud alert, and account recovery.e
The presence of this malicious code provided the trail which the team followed to find Carbanak malware in a Moscow-based bank's internal networks. The security researchers found that infection -- which began through three spear phishing emails -- in the bank's networks had remained undetected for two months. In total, 22 Chinese exploits were found.
This one case provided the chance to connect up the dots to other ATM thefts, fraudulent bank transfers and missing deposits in banks across the world. The discovery of Carbanak "united all of the theft cases around the world through one advanced persistent threat (APT)," according to Golovanov.
Once infected with Carbanak, the malware spread across internal corporate networks and tracked down administrator computers before using covert video surveillance programs to capture and record the screens of staff dealing with cash transfer systems.
With this data, the criminal gang were able to mimic staff members and transfer cash fraudulently. Online banking and international payment systems were used to deposit stolen funds in Chinese and US accounts. It is possible that transfers were also made to bank accounts in other countries.
However, criminal activity did not end here. In other cases, the cyberattackers "penetrated right into the very heart of the accounting systems," Kaspersky says. The criminals were able to inflate account balances before fraudulently transferring the money -- a covert way of stealing funds without alarming a bank account owner, as only the inflated balance would be transferred away, leaving the original funds in place.
Another way the cybercriminals were able to steal bank funds was through compromised ATMs. Through Carbanak, bank ATMs were "ordered" to dispense cash at pre-determined times, where a criminal associate would be waiting to collect the payment -- the case in question which brought Carbanak to the notice of the security firm.
It is estimated that by hacking into banks, the cybercriminals were able to make off with approximately $1 billion over 24 months. The largest amounts were stolen by breaking into banks directly and stealing up to $10 million in each raid, according to the security experts. On average, each robbery took between two and four months to complete from infection to theft.
The researchers say it is likely the criminal actors originate from Russia, Ukraine, Europe and China. Countries including the US, UK, Australia, Canada and Hong Kong have been targeted -- and the operation remains active.

"These bank heists were surprising because it made no difference to the criminals what software the banks were using. So, even if its software is unique, a bank cannot get complacent. The attackers didn't even need to hack into the banks' services: once they got into the network, they learned how to hide their malicious plot behind legitimate actions. It was a very slick and professional cyber-robbery.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Samsung Gallaxy S6 Memory bugs aren't the only issues

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Samsung Galaxy S6/S6 Edge bugs pile up

Memory bugs aren't the only issues plaguing Samsung's flagship smartphones. There are plenty of other fixes that need to make their way to the handset. However, until they are fixed, the handset is a bad bet for BYOD.

Image: Josh P. Miller
Memory bugs aren't the only issues plaguing Samsung's flagship smartphones. There are plenty of other fixes that need to make their way to the handset.Along with the memory bug, which causes background apps to be refreshed when they are switched back to because of the aggressive way the handset is managing RAM, there are other issues that affect connectivity and battery life.
The connectivity bugs are similar to the issues that plagued iOS 8 users, where Wi-Fi connectivity is slow and unstable. There are a number of reported workarounds, but just as with bugs that affected iOS, their success is limited and there are plenty of people for whom they don't work.
Then there are the battery issues. While some were predicting battery issues before the S6 and S6 Edge were launched - the battery is smaller than found in the S5, and on top of that it is not user-replaceable - things are worse than imagined. Some users have reported that the handset can't make it through a day without needing a recharge.
Again, there are spells and incantations that you can throw at your new handset, but again the success of these is hit and miss.
Bottom line, these issues - along with a raft of more minor bugs that affect the handsets - will need to wait for official fixes to be sent to the devices. These will come either in the form of official Android updates or patches coming direct from Samsung.
In the meantime, I recommend holding off on the S6 and S6 Edge, especially for BYOD. It's bleeding-edge tech and teething troubles are to be expected. It doesn't make sense to use a buggy device that could cost you or your business time and money.
Adrian Kingsley-Hughes

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Self-learning systems to replace humans in manufacturing


Self-learning systems to replace humans in manufacturing

Summary:New self-learning systems are bringing increased speed and efficiency to manufacturing processes. They may also reduce reliance on humans during ramp-up.

Robots are cracking eggs and making ice cream sundaes. These aren't just party tricks. The way robots learn to do complex tasks is changing, and that has profound implications for the future of manufacturing.
The egg-cracking robot comes courtesy of researchers at the University of Maryland and NICTA, an information and computer technology research center in Australia. Their robotic system learns processes by watching YouTube videos. "Our ultimate goal is to build a self-learning robot that is able to enrich its knowledge about fine grained manipulation actions by watching demo videos," writes the project's lead researchers. The robot utilizes object and grasping type recognition, along with a deep-learning framework that allows it to compile an ever-growing bank of skills and functions. It can recognize what a person is holding in a video, learns how they're holding it, and converts their actions into repeatable steps.

It's not difficult to see how systems like this might be utilized to improve automated manufacturing or bring new automation systems to areas of production that haven't seen much automation yet. An investment in a single robotic system capable of learning a variety of tasks without specialized programming would be attractive to small manufacturers that do short production runs, for example. A bot that can learn from watching other people could also fine tune its own actions through trial and error, essentially learning from its mistakes. That's what researchers at Lappeenranta University of Technology (LUT) in Finland had in mind when they developed a self-adjusting welding system. The welder uses sensors controlled by a neural network program to detect mistakes in the welding process and calculate other errors that are likely to arise. It fixes its own mistakes while learning how to avoid future slip-ups. In effect, the system gets better and more efficient on its own, without needing intervention and optimization from a technician.
LUT's self-learning welder
The LUT system was specifically developed for welding high strength steel, a material used in extreme conditions and one that's difficult to work with. "In the Arctic, welds must be of higher quality than in warmer regions," says Project Manager Markku Pirinen. "In the North, errors would have catastrophic consequences. For example, the welds must be able to withstand temperatures of up to -60 °C, and they must be flawless." Pirinen points out that the smart welding system will bring significant savings by eliminating the need for post-welding checks and repairs.
The potential for fully automated, self-learning, and self-aware manufacturing systems led a consortium of businesses and institutions led by the University of Nottingham to undertake the Fast Ramp-Up and Adaptive Manufacturing Environment (FRAME) project a few years back. "The aim of the FRAME project is a paradigm shift from the conventional human-­driven ramp-­up and system integration process to fully automated, self-­learning and self­aware production systems," according to a report issued at the conclusion of the investigation. Ramp-up is necessary anytime a manufacturing device is moved, deployed, or constructed, and it typically entails an intensive and person-centered process of fine-tuning and optimization. Oftentimes technicians rely on trial-and-error to move devices toward their maximum sustainable output, and this ends up costing manufacturers significant downtime. It also adds as much as 65% to the underlying cost of a manufacturing system.

FRAME targeted the medical device, automotive, and aerospace industries, which present unique manufacturing challenges and constraints. The aim of the project was to develop a system that would reduce time-to-market and time-to-volume for newly configured machines by 30 percent. Researchers sought to do this by creating a system that first learned from humans. By correlating operator actions to changes in productivity, the FRAME system could begin to solve problems without the need for further human intervention. Like LUT's welding machine, the system could also identify errors and take significant action on its own to correct them.
In trials, the FRAME project demonstrated a 30 percent decrease in failure rates, a 64 percent increase in ideal outputs, and a 12 percent improvement in cycle time. The research is now being adapted for use beyond the FRAME target industries. It's a safe bet that high skilled jobs related to systems optimization will soon be imperiled by the technology, and with increased efficiency and adaptability, self-learning systems are sure to increase the prevalence of automation within and beyond heavy manufacturing.

credit:-Greg Nichols